FREEPORT — The novelty of snow, ice and cold may have worn off months ago for some, but many Mainers cannot get enough of the stuff. That was apparent at the Maine Great Outdoor Weekend events held across the state Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Thousands of people turned out to celebrate the wintry outdoors and the recreational activities it offers.

“I love to figure skate,” said Molly Hayes, 8, of Pownal, a winter enthusiast.

Molly was romping in the snow Sunday with her sister Gretta, 3, while their father, Chris Hayes, worked away at a snow sculpture. The three had stopped off at the interactive snow sculpting demonstration outside L.L. Bean, one of several outdoor weekend events based at the store’s downtown Freeport campus.

The events were among 115 free or low-cost outdoor activities taking place across Maine. There was a beginner camping and backpacking session in Camden, an air rifle biathlon in Norway, maple tree tapping in South Berwick, a snowshoe hike and wienie roast in Fort Kent, and animal tracking in Bar Harbor.

The weekend was organized by the Maine Outdoor Coalition, a group of outdoor-oriented groups such as The Trust for Public Land, Appalachian Mountain Club, Chewonki and New England Nordic Ski Association. The three-year-old coalition has organized five weekends so far, each one bigger than before. The last such weekend, in September, included 98 events that drew 7,000 participants.

Jason Bluck of Lisbon, who introduced snow sculpting to anyone who stopped by Sunday in Freeport, said snow conditions were pretty good.


Bluck stuffed garbage pail-sized containers with snow to form a base for the budding sculptors to work on.

“It’s nice to be outdoors and get kids involved. It sure beats a cubicle,” Bluck said.

Bluck, who has made a business of sculpting snow, ice and sand for weddings, parties and company events, said beginning snow sculptors need only the simplest of tools.

“A little garden trowel is all you need,” said Bluck, whose own toolbox includes custom-made shapers, sanders and other implements.

Maine Guide Paul Faria and Rachel Farrington, both instructors at L.L. Bean’s Outdoor Discovery School, sat next to dozens of different-sized snowshoes Sunday, ready to help people discover the joys of walking on snow. They said lots of people showed up, even in Saturday’s snowstorm, and that snowshoeing is easy to do.

“You can just go out in the woods,” Farrington said.


Bridie Mears of Brunswick and her two children and friends dropped by several Great Outdoor Weekend events in Freeport on Sunday.

Mears said her family needed no introduction to winter’s outdoor pleasures.

“We do ice fishing, a little bit of snowmobiling and snowshoeing,” she said.

Beth Quimby can be contacted at 791-6363 or at: [email protected]

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